What would vinyl and collectible toys be without the Hong Kong explosion? Enter Michael Lau… the artist who was instrumental in defining a new category of collectible figures. In the ten short years since the first Hong Kong ToyCon set fans abuzz, Michael Lau has become an icon.
In a constantly evolving culture, as we find explosive growth in the global vinyl marketplace, one name that has stood the test of time is Hong Kong toy pioneer, Michael Lau. MINDstyle is proud to announce Gardener 10th by Michael Lau – his first ever USA exhibition.
Gardener 10th by Michael Lau is a celebration of his amazing body of work! The event surrounding his 10th anniversary provides an inside look into a unique subculture and an intimate portrait of the man responsible for a collectible figures revolution. Vinyl toys are here to stay, and Michael Lau has masterfully created a blueprint that will be followed for years to come.
His work and collaborations, ranging from Nike to Colette to Maharishi, and now MINDstyle, are a who’s who list of pop culture brands that illustrate where this all started and how it has continued to grow. To best understand the movement, we need look no further than the last decade of Michael’s work and the environment he created for the Gardeners.
Michael’s world combines the ideals of music and art that emerged from the street. His characters are based on “real life,” yet translated into his own vision, style and approach. It’s about the freedom and lifestyle of skateboarding and action sports; along with the relation of his characters to each of us. As he has grown into one of the most influential artists in the domestic and international street and vinyl culture, Michael Lau and his crazysmiles company have also become one of the most relevant sources of information about the toy scene around the world. Among his collectors are “heads” and celebrities, who themselves have a tremendous influence on this very unique subculture that flirts with mainstream popularity while cannily avoiding over-saturation.
These days the demand for vinyl has made it harder for quality to match quantity. But Michael Lau remains independent by limiting his production and continuing his hands-on approach to every step of the production of his brand. He not only creates his own concept art, but actually sculpts and paints his figures for production. Overseeing his Hong Kong-based team on every aspect, from packaging to sales, Michael epitomizes a rare breed of visionaries able to connect with an audience that has remained loyal over the years.
Gardener 10th by Michael Lau is a look at the artist and what he does. Through his sketches, drawings, paintings and custom figures, the exhibition captures the essence of the art and toys of one of this generation’s finest toy makers. Art toys are all about the translation and connection each of us has with an artist based on a common set of ideals and experiences expressed visually.
With the vinyl movement constantly evolving, it’s hard to provide a definitive look, but a measure of understanding can be gained in this retrospective of the art toy scene explosion through one of its originals. His first ever exhibition and appearance in the United States documents ten years of Gardeners and celebrates the vision and creativity of Michael Lau.